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Air Bubbles On Fish?


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#1 camills

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:19 PM

Hello, new to the forum and hoping that someone can help me ASAP with a problem in my 55 gallon fish tank. I do frequent water checks and all the nitrates, nitrites, Ph, etc.. are all within normal parameters. The 55 gallon set up is fairly new (about 2 months), as we had to transfer our two balas over when we realized they were much too small for their old tank. We've had them for a year now. In with the two balas are 3 zebra danios, 2 upside down catfish,a brown knife fish, 2 CAE, and 2 angel fish. They are all eating healthy (as far as yesterday) but that is about all.
The fish (especially the Balas) have what appears to be little air bubbles all over their skin. The large CAE looks discolored. Even the knife fish looks as though he may have air bubbles on him. They all seem a little more lethargic than normal. I noticed one of the balas does the normal freak out routine - but this time he looks as those he may be itching its scales against the rocks/gravel. Many people say this is Ich, but I'm not noticing the white dots that I normally would think of when I see ich. These bubbles on their skin are transparent.
I am so worried about them, and we always take such good care of them - that I'm hoping I can nip this quick!
Also, we do frequent water changes (as we did with the old tank) of at least once every 2 weeks or so. Water temp always stays between 78-80. There are two dual filters (meant for 60 gallons) on each end of the tank.
I have begun to treat for a bacterial infection as I'm not sure what else may be happening? I've only done one treatment so far - am I headed in the right direction? Is there any more information that needs to be provided? If not, please help. Thank you in advance!

#2 VaegaVic

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 09:54 PM

Hello there,
Welcome to the forum!

Ideally, if you can get us a photo it would greatly help.
Air bubbles regulary appear on fish after water changes, nothing to worry about.

When you say the stats are normal, can you give us exacts, just to make sure?

Finally, try not to treat with a specific med if you don't know the problem, some fish like Knife Fish can be less tolerant than others.

As said, pics and stats first if possible and we'll work from there.

#3 camills

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:29 PM

Hello -
Nitrites 0.
Nitrates 0.
Ph 7.1
Alkalinity 0.
Hardness 0.

Balas are now not eating, and they usually have enormous appetites. All the other fish seem to be eating. These don't necessarily look like air bubbles, as they do not disappear. The knife fish has them all over his body and fins and it looks like glitter almost, as if it sparkles when they swim. Does that make sense? I only used half a treatment of bacterial medication as I know knife fish are more susceptible to die from a large dose of medication.

Pictures attached (hopefully)
Of our larger bala, Scarface and the larger CAE, Oscar! :)

EDIT:
I can't seem to post the pictures. I have to figure out what I'm doing wrong - trying again as we speak to figure that out..

Edited by camills, 29 September 2010 - 10:30 PM.


#4 VaegaVic

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:37 PM

Best thing to do is to upload to Facebook or Photobucket if you can and then link it here.

By the sounds of it, it could be whitespot or velvet.

Does it look like small grains of salt or like icing powder?

#5 camills

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:40 PM

Attached File  cae.jpg   27.5KB   3 downloadsAttached File  scarface.jpg   22.78KB   5 downloads[quote name='camills' date='29 September 2010 - 10:29 PM' timestamp='1285799361' post='2833650']

Did those pictures show up?
Yes, my boyfriend said that that's exactly what it looks like, icing powder.. I'm not even quite sure what that is to be honest ha. I hope the pictures help to figure this out more. Thanks again!

I just looked up velvet and that seems to be the culprit. Now that I notice the CAE - it does look like he has a velvety skin coming off his scales. What should I do to treat this? Will they die?

Edited by camills, 29 September 2010 - 10:43 PM.


#6 VaegaVic

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:55 PM

It is indeed Velvet, a nasty #28###.

If you're in the UK, Interpet do a treatment for this exact problem, as do Waterlife.

Interpet Anti Slime & Velvet:
http://www.petplanet...atics/51350.jpg

Waterlife Protozin,
http://shop1.actinic...0mls_150pix.jpg

My personal favourite is Protozin, but it's harder to find. Interpet is easy and probably just as effective.

Always remember to remove your carbon filter pads before adding meds and do a nice water change before you add meds to remove any of the original anti-bacterial stuff.

In terms of survivability, if we've caught it earlier enough, they should make a full recovery.

Edited by VaegaVic, 29 September 2010 - 10:56 PM.


#7 camills

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:12 AM

I'm actually in the US. I went to the tropical fish store and found what I could for velvet - it is Sentry AQ - Mardel - Coppersafe: for ick, Velvet and other external parasites. Do you think that will work? I also read to put aquarium salts in to help aide the process - do you think that would do any good? One more question - should I remove the knife fish and put him in his own tank and perhaps do a lesser treatment? Or should I just treat the whole tank at half the amount? Thank you so much for your help!

#8 VaegaVic

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:21 AM

I'm actually in the US. I went to the tropical fish store and found what I could for velvet - it is Sentry AQ - Mardel - Coppersafe: for ick, Velvet and other external parasites. Do you think that will work? I also read to put aquarium salts in to help aide the process - do you think that would do any good? One more question - should I remove the knife fish and put him in his own tank and perhaps do a lesser treatment? Or should I just treat the whole tank at half the amount? Thank you so much for your help!


That med should be OK.
It will kill any inverts though, so I hope you don't have any prize winning snails or shrimp.
You can indeed put in salt to aid the healing process but try to use a reduced amount, it shouldn't really both the knife-fish but as we both know, they need pristine water conditions and a lot of them are really quite temperamental.
When dealing with sensitive fish I've always been advised to use 1/2 the med for twice as long. In practice this works, but it's up to you. You could always build up the dosages.
Ideally try and keep the knife-fish in the same tank, you'll need to wipe out all of the parasite so you might as well do it as efficiently as possible.

I really hope this helps.

If there's anything else you need, just give me a shout.

#9 camills

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:13 PM

We lost the two balas this morning. Both were attached to the filter when we woke up. We shut the filter off and one floated to the bottom and the other tried to make it. I put him in a hospital tank and tried to give it space but he didn't make it. The ghost knife hasn't shown his face too much - so I can only assume he's getting worse. He was quite an active fish before all this happened. But at this point I'm prepared for the worst so - we'll see. I finally saw one of the catfish this morning and he had white spots all over him. I may be confusing myself now, but isn't that more typical of ich? The medication I got treats both so I guess that doesn't matter as much but I would like to concretely know what it is I'm dealing with. So bummed about the Balas.. I guess it was too far along to treat? It's really weird cause the day before they were fine - the next day covered in spots. Thanks for all your help - just wanted to let you know.

#10 Athena

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:22 PM

Hi there - sorry to hear about your fish losses.

When you posted your stat results above, you didn't give an ammonia reading. Have you tested for ammonia?

How did you cycle that new tank?

Regards - Athena

#11 WILDER

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:29 PM

Bubbles on fish can be a sign that the fish are about to break out in whitespot or velvet.
Also small bubbles on fish can be due to mucn aeration in the tank.
Bubbles beneath the skin is gas bubble desease.

If the tank its newly set up you should never add fish to a tank full of small bubbles.

If the fish has a dusting of talc on them that can be a sign of velvet.

Are the fish showing any of these symtoms.
Flicking and rubbing.
Darting, erratic swimming.
Laboured breathing, or gasping at surface of tank.
Excess slime or mucas.

Small white grain of salt spots is whitespot.

Edited by WILDER, 30 September 2010 - 12:30 PM.


#12 camills

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:30 PM

I actually don't have an ammonia test. I brought a water sample to the trop. fish store yesterday and he went through every test and said the water was great - I don't think I've had a problem with it. We let the tank cycle for 2 weeks before we added the balas. All the levels were perfect at the time they entered - and pretty much have been since. They had a few plants from their own tank to help with the biological aspects.. I'd say they've been in there a full 2 months now. Where did I go wrong?

How many times/days should I do the dosage of treatment? The directions just say 1 tsp for every 4 gallons - so last night I did about half that. I'm not sure when to do it again or if to do it again. Oh- the ghost knife is sort of new. Had him about a month. Sucks because I think he's struggling. What can I do?

#13 Athena

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:46 PM

A tank filter can't cycle fully in 2 weeks. How were you cycling it? Were you following the instructions from these forums? Or did you just have the tank running for 2 weeks with no fish in it? Running a filter in an empty tank won't cycle the filter. You need to add ammonia to the water.

If your LFS tested your tank water prior to adding the fish to the uncycled tank, then of course the readings will show zero because it's basically just dechlorinated water.

So, effectively, what happened is you've been going through a fish-in cycle since adding the fish. This will have caused a gradual build-up of ammonia. As you know, even a small ammonia reading is enough to irritate some fish. Velvet is nearly always caused by the fish being exposed to high ammonia/nitrite.

You will need to do daily water changes and water testing (try to buy a liquid test kit that includes ammonia test as that is a really important one). There are notes on a pinned forum post about doing fish-in cycling properly.

Regards - Athena

#14 WILDER

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:47 PM

I would invest in some liquid test kits of your own. Not all lfs are to be trusted.

What the name of the med.

Follow med instructions.
Remove black carbon from filter.
Increase temp to 30.
Increase aeration as the high temp and med reduce 02 in the water.
Make sure you can use the full dose with the fish you keep.
I think you have to half dose with ghost knife fish.
Catfish are sensitive also to parasite meds.

#15 camills

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 01:03 PM

A tank filter can't cycle fully in 2 weeks. How were you cycling it? Were you following the instructions from these forums? Or did you just have the tank running for 2 weeks with no fish in it? Running a filter in an empty tank won't cycle the filter. You need to add ammonia to the water.

If your LFS tested your tank water prior to adding the fish to the uncycled tank, then of course the readings will show zero because it's basically just dechlorinated water.

So, effectively, what happened is you've been going through a fish-in cycle since adding the fish. This will have caused a gradual build-up of ammonia. As you know, even a small ammonia reading is enough to irritate some fish. Velvet is nearly always caused by the fish being exposed to high ammonia/nitrite.

You will need to do daily water changes and water testing (try to buy a liquid test kit that includes ammonia test as that is a really important one). There are notes on a pinned forum post about doing fish-in cycling properly.

Regards - Athena



We did water tests before and after the fish were in the tank. Like I said in my first post, I do regular water checks both myself and from the LFS and have had no issues. I used 10 gallons of water from their old tank and added it to the new one, let that filter for 2 weeks. I went to my lfs and asked what I needed to do - followed their advice. Everything seemed to be perfectly fine. We had the smaller tank for over a year before we upgraded to this larger one. Many of the fish from that first tank are still alive in this one.
I will go to the store and buy a better test kit today - I have always been meaning to invest in one just haven't had a chance. Thanks for all your help. So - where to go from here - do I add the meds or not? I figure with daily water changes not much of it is going to filter through so is there even a point? Just want to make sure I get the rest of my fish treated if possible. Thanks again.

#16 Athena

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 03:01 PM

Oh dear, sorry to keep going on about this. Just trying to be helpful. The advice your LFS gave you is basically bad advice - but it's so common, unfortunately. Adding 10 gallons of water from another tank is not going to mature your filter.

Ah, one thing I didn't ask last time... when you set up the new tank, did you transfer over the filter from your old tank or did you use a brand new filter?

That makes a whole difference...

It might be an idea to have a read through all the filter cycling notes on this website to get a fuller understanding of the whole process and how it works. Relying on what shop staff tell you isn't always the best thing as they are there predominantly for one reason...to sell and keep the business profits up! Of course, some LFS staff are better than others, so I'm not throwing them all in the same pot :lol:

As for the sick fish - you definitely need to medicate otherwise you'll more than likely have more deaths. So, as you need to do water changes to lower any possible ammonia in there, I would medicate in the morning and do the water change in the evening. That way your fish will have the benefit of the meds throughout the day. Start the whole process off with a 50% water change, though.

Also, it's best to feed very sparsely (some recommend not at all) until the major symptoms have cleared up.

All the best - Athena

Edited by Athena, 30 September 2010 - 03:06 PM.


#17 camills

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 04:04 PM

So I went to the tropical fish store that is known for having a good reputation, rather than the my lfs. I bought a full master test kit.

Levels are:
Ammonia - 0
Nitrite - 0
PH - 7.2
Nitrate - 40ppm

Going to do a 40% water change, add anti-biotic that is safe to react w/ copper (because of the Coppersafe we put in - which he said really is no good) and figure out where to go from here. I appreciate all your help! I wasn't trying to be rude (if it came off that way) - this is just extremely frustrating and getting different information from all different sources causes more issues than it does help, as I'm sure you know. So thank you again.

Also - used the old filter from the old tank for the 2 weeks it ran and then a small amount of time after the fish were in until we added another dual filter.

Edited by camills, 30 September 2010 - 04:05 PM.


#18 Athena

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 04:44 PM

Ah, well that's fine then. Have to ask all these questions because of not knowing the full details from the start.

Hope you manage to save these sick fishies.

Regards - Athena




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